New to Mac buying, need help!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by billy7, Aug 24, 2006.

  1. billy7 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2006
    #1
    Hi guys,


    im one of those disgusting "pc users" you hear so much about and given the recent developments, or lack there of in windows vista ive realised there is absolutely nothing to look forward to in terms of more efficient and modern ways of working. So i'm ready to shift to mac, im not a total newbie, ive been working tentatively with an ibook for the past year but only really use it when I have to as its not as powerful as the pc laptop i have. However I am building a home recording studio and am very aware that mac is more reliable and generally less hassle and as well as this has a much better OS.

    So i need to replace my desktop computer and am spec'ing up a mac pro, I have a few questions.

    1) What does it mean where apple are allowing you to place 1, 2 or 3 256mb cards in your machine, do these add up like ram does? how does this work? i'd like 512mb worth of graphics power but am confused as to what to buy, i'm mostly using it for music production but am planning to use bootcamp and do some gaming too...

    2) ..which leads to my next question! If I want to chop and change something with the mac somewhere down the line, crucially the graphics card - say nvidia come up with something amazing that will run say... Crysis amazingly [when it comes out] then id want to add that. But with mac buying you get no indication as to what the motherboard has on it... are they just pci express slots? how does this work?

    3) finally, does the ability with mac to dual boot mean I could dual boot from an external firewire hard drive that just has windows and games on it? or does it have to be a partition on the internal HD (if so i'll get a bigger HD)


    many thanks, hopefully thats somethin for you lot to get your teeth into!!


    Cheers,


    Will
     
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #2
    1) Graphics cards are not additive (well SLI/Crossfire sort of is but this is not supported under OSX). 3 cards are 3 distinct cards. You do this if you want to run lots of screens (3 cards=6 monitors). You should not measure the "power" of the graphics card in terms of RAM but in terms of the GPU. A 256MB 7900GT would smoke a 512MB 7300. If you want a good gaming card get the ATI option.

    2) For a card to be usable under OSX you need it to be supported. At the moment off-the-shelf PC card do not work. This is mostly due to Macs using EFI not a normal BIOS. Once there are more shipping EFI PCs this may well change. You can use normal cards when booting to Windows under BootCamp.

    3) Boot Camp can currently only boot from Internal drives. You can boot OSX from external drives, but not Windows. This may change in the final version. As the Mac Pro uses standard SATA drives you could just buy an off-the shelf drive and use that...
     
  3. billy7 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2006
    #3
    oh really?

    I watched some of the recent WWDC expo showing off the slotting in of hard drives and it looked like they had to fit specially in those bays (excuse my lack of knowledge, i havent seen one "in person" yet). So I could bung in the SATA hard drives i've got in my current desktop setup?

    (I tried to fix the crappy bluescreening piece of crap by buying it a new hard drive and patting it encouragingly - it saw through it like a cheap carrier bag).
     
  4. ipodcentral112 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2006
    #4
    What are you asking?
     
  5. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #5
    The machine ships with empty drive sleds for any drives you don't configure. So if you buy the default single drive you'll get 3 empty sleds. You can simply screw your own drives into the sleds. SATA drives have standardised power and data interface locations so any SATA drive should work fine.
     
  6. amac4me macrumors 65816

    amac4me

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2005
    #6
    First off, congrats on the decision to purchase a Mac, you'll be happy that you did.

    To answer your questions:

    1. I suggest you read the details about the graphics on the Mac Pro at Apple's Mac Pro site, specifically here.

    2. I agree with the response provided by "robbieduncan"

    3. The latest update is Boot Camp beta 1.1. It offers the ability to install Windows XP on any internal disk. So with the Mac Pro, I would suggest getting a separate disk for your Windows installation as the Mac Pro has up to 4 slots for internal disks.

    Good luck.
     
  7. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #7
    You can find out all about the drive sleds here and on the following page of the article.
     
  8. billy7 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2006
    #8
    Thank You!

    You guys have been fantastic, thanks so much for all your help, i'll be reading the links you've both provided, and probably posting back once ive saved and made my purchase, thanks, and i'll recommend you guys to Steve's PR department!

    Cheers,

    Will
     

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